ODDITY PROJECT” (PRINCE2® FICTION)
It’s easy to get excited and enthusiastic about something so new and unique.
But is it fit for purpose looking from a project manager’s point of view?
In my lifetime, I’ve reviewed a mound of books on project management, and there
was none that had any resemblance to it. Hence, I do believe that “The Deep-Space Oddity Project” is new and unique in its concept. The author called it “PRINCE2 Fiction” and at least I am not aware of anything remotely similar existing on the market.
It is a novella, meaning a narration of a fictional plot populated with invented characters. At the same time, it aims to stay very close to the real-life struggles and frustrations of project managers. In concept, I could see it going back to the novels by Arthur Hailey – remember, “Airport”, “Hotel”, “Wheels”, all hugely successful in their time – that I’d define as industrial fiction.
“The Deep-Space Oddity Project” is, of course, much thinner on the plot, it’s just a 170-page novella. Still, it revolves in a similar fashion around the work of a group of professionals who in this case have different roles in a PMO. They are responding to a threat of cosmic proportions using PRINCE2 to run their project.
The plot focuses on problems and challenges that project managers routinely encounter in their jobs. In my experience, describing how to meet those problems and challenges is something that really resonates with the readers.
In essence, “The Deep-Space Oddity Project” is a mammoth case study that
incorporates about a third of the PRINCE2 syllabus. But in contrast to many others (that are also less detailed and comprehensive), this one is written in a lively and conversational language where dynamic dialogues mingle with a spattering of “war stories”. Besides the plot plays out against a finely detailed backdrop of the Vienna International Centre and an observatory on a mountain top in Turkey, offering a peep behind the curtains of international politics and human intrigues.
I readily admit that I was hooked by the characters’ wry humour and abundant wit oozing from the pages and read the book from cover to cover, reluctant to put it down.
OK, all that is fine - but does it offer anything useful for the project
For one thing, “The Deep-Space Oddity Project” provides an engagingly crisp description of how to start a project and how to correctly close it. If it doesn’t seem like a lot, recall the projects that have miserably failed because they were not set up in the right way. Or those that went on and on without any purpose because no one bothered to stop them. Remember, a project is a temporary organisation created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed Business Case.
For another, this novella explains the mechanics of two true game-changers in project management introduced by PRINCE2 – making the supplier accountable for the quality of project products and making the user accountable for benefit realisation. And if that was not enough, it also offers an illuminating walk-through of how to resolve an entangled case of tolerance breach.
So, what’s the business benefit of reading “The Deep-Space Oddity Project”?
For PRINCE2 project managers, particularly those employed in the UN system, it offers some sound advice and practical guidance regarding how to set up and run a PRINCE2 project in that organisational environment.
For those thinking about enrolling in a PRINCE2 course, “The Deep-Space Oddity Project” can serve as a gentle nudge to take the plunge, and a great pre-course reading, too. PRINCE2 accredited course materials and the official guidance on “Managing successful projects with PRINCE2®” are notoriously dry. It makes rather good sense to start your acquaintance with PRINCE2 with some more engaging reading.
For CIOs, CEO and executives of all kinds, this may be a compelling introduction to the PRINCE2 way of thinking and the benefits it can bring their organisations.
And for all those in our profession who are simply curious about the way things work in the world of structured project management, “The Deep-Space Oddity Project” offers enough fact and fable to satisfy their curiosity and leave them enticed to explore a new avenue of professional development.
Coming up next: An insightful Q&A with the author, Alexei Kuvshinnikov, about his experiences from two decades of doing project management, reasons for writing this book and views about PRINCE2. If you have questions you’d like to ask him, let me know.